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Monday, August 30, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nobel Laureate Dr. Baruch Blumberg To Be Honored By San Francisco's Hepatitis B Community

Discoverer of Hepatitis B Virus & Developer of Hepatitis B Vaccine

SAN FRANCISCO (August 30, 2010) –Nobel Laureate Dr. Baruch Blumberg who discovered the Hepatitis B Virus and developed the Hepatitis Vaccine will be honored by the Chinese Hospital and San Francisco’s Hepatitis B community. The honor will take place at the Hep B Free Coast to Coast dinner on September 16 at the Regency Grand Ballroom. For ticket or sponsorship information, please go to http://sfhepbfree.org/gala/.

San Francisco’s Hep B Free has created an innovative ecosystem which includes over 50 private and public organizations whose goal is to turn San Francisco into the first hepatitis B city nationwide. Their successful public health model has inspired a national Hep B Free movement from coast to coast.

The 37th Annual Award will be bestowed by the Chinese Hospital in recognition of Dr. Blumberg’s contribution to improving the health of Asians. The night's event is presented by SF Hep B Free and Chinese Hospital, and produced by the AsianWeek Foundation. Past notable awardees include Dr. Samuel So, Director, Asian Liver Center at Stanford University, Dr. David Ho, Director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and Dr. James Y. Suen, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Arkansas & President Bill Clinton’s personal physician.

“As one of the first institutions in the U.S, to provide community screenings for Hepatitis B, honoring Dr. Blumberg is particularly meaningful for us,” said Dr. Joseph Woo, Chief of Staff, Chinese Hospital. “Without Dr. Blumberg’s extraordinary discovery, we would not have been able to help our community and save lives.”

Blumberg received the 1976 Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery of the Hepatitis B Virus, and in the development of the first vaccine to fight Hepatitis B. His research has had a major impact on worldwide public health. Blumberg is a professor of medicine and anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and Distinguished Scientist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. More recently, he has been involved in research at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he is director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, which studies the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

“The means are available to prevent and treat Hepatitis B Virus infection,” said Blumberg. “These good outcomes can only be fully achieved if the public, and particularly populations with a high rate of infection, including those of Asian origin, are educated about the virus and take part in the program of vaccination, detection, and treatment. The Chinese Hospital, Hep B Free Campaign in San Francisco, along with others such as those of the Hepatitis B Foundation in Pennsylvania and other Hep B free initiatives across the nation are making the public aware of the problem and leading the efforts to solve it.”

Recently, the World Health Organization passed a resolution to mark World Hepatitis Day on July 28, Blumberg’s birthday.

About Hepatitis B (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
There are more than 43,000 new Hepatitis B cases in United States each year, with the greatest incidence among adults between ages 19–49 years old.Hepatitis B is one of the leading health disparities between Asians and non-Hispanic whites.Among the Asian population the predominant mode of transmission is from infected mother to child during the birthing process. Hepatitis B can also be spread through unprotected sex and shared needles.There is a safe and effective vaccine to protect against infection from Hepatitis B.

About Chinese Hospital
Chinese Hospital, a community-owned, not-for-profit organization, exists primarily to deliver quality health care in a cost effective way, responsive to the community's ethnic and cultural uniqueness. The hospital provides access to health care and acceptability to all socioeconomic levels. Chinese Hospital is governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees, broadly representative of the community, and strives to assume a leadership role in all health matters. For more info, go to http://www.chinesehospital-sf.org.

About AsianWeek Foundation
AsianWeek Foundationis a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote and develop Asian Pacific American identity, community and diversity. AWF does this by bringing people together through cultural events, media campaigns, consulting and innovative programs. AWF encourages the sharing of differences and appreciation of diversity, and works to strengthen relations between all Asian and Pacific Islander cultures, newer and older generations of Asian Pacific Americans, and Asians and non-Asians.

About San Francisco Hep B Free
San Francisco Hep B Free is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between city government, private healthcare community organizations and businesses. The campaign’s goal is to make San Francisco Hepatitis B-free by (1) creating public and healthcare provider awareness about the importance of testing & vaccinating Asian and Pacific Islanders for Hepatitis B; (2) promoting routine Hepatitis B screenings and vaccinations within the primary care medical community; and (3) facilitating access to treatment for chronically infected individuals. The SF Hep B Free Steering Committee is made up of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University and the Asian Week Foundation. For more info, please go to www.sfhepbfree.org.

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Media Contact:
Grace Niwa, Niwa Public Relations
(617) 299-9848
grace@niwapr.com

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